AMA Opposes Legalization, Calls Marijuana ‘Dangerous Drug’

AMA Opposes Legalization, Calls Marijuana ‘Dangerous Drug’

Polls may show that a majority of Americans now favor the legalization of marijuana, but the American Medical Association – the nation’s largest medical group – still considers cannabis a “dangerous drug” that should not be legalized for either recreational or medical use.

AMA Logo for websiteThe AMA’s House of Delegates voted this week not to adopt an amendment proposed by a delegation from California that would have taken a “neutral stance” on the legalization of marijuana. It also voted against a proposal to support the sale of marijuana in states where it is already legal.

The House of Delegates is the main policy-making body of the AMA.

“The AMA today reiterated the widely held scientific view that marijuana is dangerous and should not be legalized,” said Stuart Gitlow, MD, Chair-Elect of the AMA Council on Science and Health and President of the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

“We can only hope that the public will listen to science – not ‘Big Marijuana’ interests who stand to gain millions of dollars from increased addiction rates.”

The House of Delegates called for more efforts to discourage marijuana use, especially by young people, and said more research was needed to determine the consequence of long-term cannabis use.

The AMA did adopt a provision saying that “public health based strategies, rather than incarceration, should be utilized in the handling of individuals possessing cannabis.”

It also amended language about the so-called war on drugs to “acknowledge that federal efforts to address illicit drug use via supply reduction and enforcement have been ineffective.”

“The American Medical Association took a bold step today, and they should be commended,” said former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy, co-founder of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), which opposes legalization.

“By explicitly rejecting calls to neutralize their anti-legalization position, they are sending a loud and powerful message to state and local decision makers, the Federal government, and the general public that to be on the side of science is to oppose efforts to expand marijuana use and addiction.”

The AMA’s action comes one week after the American Psychiatric Association released a statement outlining the public health harms of marijuana.

“There is no current scientific evidence that marijuana is in any way beneficial for the treatment of any psychiatric disorder. In contrast, current evidence supports, at minimum, a strong association of cannabis use with the onset of psychiatric disorders. Adolescents are particularly vulnerable to harm, given the effects of cannabis on neurological development,” the statement said.

Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have already legalized the medical use of marijuana. Last year Washington and Colorado became the first states to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Advocates of marijuana legalization in California are planning a statewide ballot initiative in 2014 to also legalize the drug for recreational use.

Both medical and recreational use of marijuana technically remain illegal under federal law, although the U.S. Justice Department recently said it would not rigorously enforce the law in states where it is legal, provided that those states enforce rules on the drug’s sale and distribution.

Authored by: Pat Anson, Editor

There are 7 comments for this article
  1. trudy myers at 11:28 pm

    OMG-what is it that they just want chronic pain sufferers to suffer. Marijuana is a safe and effective medication to enhance the narcotic meds that do not work very well and it helps with coping with chronic pain. I cant understand why they would prefer people to get it from drug cartels than to have it going into the pockets of pharmacies. The tax dollar could save medicare and Medicaid and lower the deficit too It will also create jobs. I don’t understand it. Are they blind or deaf? or just stupid??

  2. JohnCRoberts at 11:26 am

    Interesting since the AMA and doctors in general decried the original law around 1933 that Harry Anslinger passed through Congress (the original Marijuana Prohibition) with William Randolph Hearst’s fervent support.

    Exact statements included, They did What? Interestingly noted is several statements from medical professionals are included as evidence and statements for the prohibition were obtained under other circumstances and the actual medical communities stance on Cannabis was NOT in favor of the prohibition. How times have changed! It is not now or ever has been a schedule 1 drug except by Government Fiat.

    As Dr. Gupta says, both of the statements that Cannabis is dangerous and has no medical value are FALSE!

  3. Pyar Aly at 10:42 am

    Former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, as well as the prominent physicians Sunil Aggarwal and Sanjay Gupta have done the most accurate fact-finding and medical reporting on marijuana issue.

    To the AMA’s credit, the AMA has supported rescheduling marijuana as a non-schedule one drug to support marijuana research. (http://www.ama-assn.org/resources/doc/csaph/csaph-report3-i09.pdf)
    On the legalization and medicalization issue, the AMA is a little slow to arrive at the truth, by nature being a conservative organization. But they’ll get there in due time. They shouldn’t expect the rest of the country to wait for them though.

  4. Janice Reynolds RN, BC, OCN, CHPN at 7:25 am

    What I would like to see is Marijuana go to a schedule II medication so it can be not only researched more thoroughly but can be standardized (this amount contains x amount of THC). I wonder how many people know if legalized, Phillip Morris owns the patent for distribution?

  5. trudy myers at 10:44 am

    ridiculous!!!! The AMA are just loving that people are now unable to treat themselves. They would rather you come to them for PILLS.

  6. Legalize Nationwide! at 7:54 am

    The only people against Safe Access to Medical Marijuana are those whom profit from it being illegal such as Big Pharma.

    When a loved one who is suffering needs this marvelous herb in order to increase their appetite, reduce the overwhelming pain, and live as as healthy and happily as they can with the time they have left, let’s have the compassion to allow them to have it.

    Stop treating Medical Marijuana Patients like second rate citizens and common criminals by forcing them to the dangerous black market for their medicine.

    Risking incarceration to obtain the medicine you need is no way to be forced to live.

    Support Medical Marijuana Now!

  7. Kimberly Miller at 5:50 pm

    It’s a crock of crap. I have Interstitial Cystits, Restless Legs Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Polyneuropathy, and very little help from any type of the heavily guarded opiate drugs nobody will prescribe. What would be better than nothing, by a mile; Marijuana! Can’t overdose on it, can’t get addicted to it (don’t care what doctors/ psychiatrists/DEA says, I know the truth).

    Try living 24 hours a day feeling like you have a bladder infection. Low-dose, extended release opioids would allow some quality of life, but no, there are drug addicts in the world so you can just suffer.

    Come on already. You’ve taken all the humane options away from people like me, give me SOMETHING!